Published: April 10, 2019

Earlier this year, thousands of SEIU 503 members participated in the 2019 bargaining survey, which is how our union sets the agenda for bargaining our next contract. The results are clear, we need to win on economic proposals that lift wages and defend our benefits, in addition to improving the culture of our workplaces.

Here are the top line results from the survey.

Q. Rank the following issues by their importance to you.

Top Issues:

  1. Raises
  2. Protecting PERS
  3. “Make Work Work for Us,” proposals that improve workplaces through increased flexibility and a healthy work-life balance.

Responses were ranked choices; numbers are not meant to add up to 100%.

42.2 percent of members said cost of living adjustments (raises) were the biggest priority. Protecting retirement benefits was the second most likely to be ranked a top priority, followed by flexible work schedules.

How we can address these issues at the bargaining table.

1. Raises

Most workers think a raise between 3-5 percent or higher is realistic given our current economic situation. Our bargaining team has an initial proposal of 5 percent on July 1 of each year of the contract.

In addition, creating a new Top Step would help members who are topped out, and raise the ceiling for members who plan to stay in their jobs long term. Our team is proposing to add two top steps, and win an immediate step (7/1/19) for workers who have been topped out longer than a year.

2. Retirement

We have seen relentless attacks on retirement benefits from legislators and the media in recent years, and by sticking together in union, we’ve been successful at protecting our core benefits.
This year is no different. A corporate-led campaign to slash PERS is back and stronger than ever. Every single “solution” their pushing involves cutting our members’ benefits. Our union’s political program remains laser-focused on this issue.

Even though PERS is decided in the legislature, there are things we can do at the bargaining table to protect ourselves. Our proposal is to offset PERS cuts with a wage increase. Doing this would mean our total compensation remains the same, no matter what the Legislature does.

3. “Make Work Work for Us”

At the bargaining table we will bring forward specific workplace issues as part of our “Make Work Work for Us” category. We aim to create jobs that are flexible, that recognize the need for a healthy work-life balance, and value the diversity of the workforce and the needs of their family members. Statewide, we are proposing better access to telecommuting, paid parental leave, access to leave without pay, and guaranteed time off for culturally important holidays. In addition, we want to see more opportunities to give managers feedback, and clear procedures to address toxic worksite behavior.

What you can do

Participate in a regional meeting, where we are planning the bargaining campaign and discussing the future of our union.

Roseburg: Thursday, April 11 – 5:30pm-8pm
Bend: Saturday, April 13 – 10am-2pm
Medford: Saturday, April 13 – 10am-1pm
St. Helens: Saturday, April 13 – 10am-1pm
Washington Co.: Saturday, April 20 – 10am-2pm
Salem: Saturday, April 20 – 10am-1pm

Or, join thousands of other SEIU members in Salem on May 20 for the Revenue Rally. Without new revenue, legislators are predicting 5% cuts across public agencies. Funding the kind of contracts we deserve requires new revenue. And that’s what May 20 is all about.